Justin S. – From Down Under

Paddy Pallin Adventure Race [Photos]

After having ditched my team, I was adamant that I was not going to participate in this race, but rather watch and support them from the sidelines. That was until I got the call up from a colleague who had an injury in his team and needed a fill in.

Reluctantly, I agreed to race.

My new teammates finished 7th in the all male category last year, so you can imagine the pressure that was felt by the “fill in”.

The team lined up and registered, collected our maps and let our nominated navigational expert do his stuff! All other jobs were distributed. As luck would have it, I was assigned the timing chip and punch card connoisseur, great more pressure….

For two weeks prior to race day, the weather was nothing short of unpleasant with solid rain day after day.
A massive 220 teams fronted the start line and all teams were relaxed but ready to go. No one knew what to expect from the weather, but amazingly, the rain held off.

Race time had arrived!
The first section was a rogaine crossword and an orienteering section in the bush.
I managed to slice my knee open on a tree stump at check point 2 and thought my day was done not long after it started! Thankfully, it was but a mere flesh wound, and with teeth clenched, I bravely fought on.

It was then on to the paddle. 3 person sit on top kayaks are not built for speed or a ripping head wind. We lost time on this leg as the course setter had placed the checkpoint in the wrong position (I swear it was not my fault).

Following the kayaks was the residential rogaine section, which was relatively straightforward and then it was onto the mountain bikes. Most of the tracks could easily be mistaken for creeks given the heavy rainfalls of prior weeks. The mountain biking legs were a hoot with knee-deep puddles. A real mud fest, which I haven’t had the joys of soaking in since I was knee high myself!

The next section was 3 short orienteering check points deep in the bush, then back onto the bikes for the last section. Passing a few teams before the end, we crossed the line in 4hr 19min with another all male team and a mixed team. The official results revealed that we had finished in 4th place in the male category, short of 3rd place (and a podium finish!) by a mere 5 seconds.
Overall, it was a great day, however the bike is still caked with mud.
I am sure that I will get around to cleaning it sometime soon!
Handy hints for the novice team adventure racers:

1. Everyone makes navigational mistakes, it’s the size that counts
2. Give the timing stick and punch card to the fittest person on the team
3. Make sure you have some good cheat sheets, eg: what you expect to see from check point 5 to 6, a river 2 hills…
4. Give it a go. Anyone of any fitness level can do it. One team in this race comprised of father and 2 daughters aged 9 an 11, awesome.

Shout out to the team, Todd and Leeso for a great day.

Justin….

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